Leveraging PFMA to Perform SQRA

Includes Multiple Live Events. The next is on 02/26/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)

Virtual, February 26 - March 1, 2024

9:00AM- 2:30PM MT

Despite the criticism that Potential Failure Mode Analysis (PFMA) has received following the Oroville Dam spillway incident, it has been viewed as a standard of care for dam safety evaluations in the U.S., and with some possible improvements to be more expansive, is expected to be so into the future.  Many PFMA’s have been performed for state- and federally-regulated dams, and as a result of that investment, considerable knowledge has been obtained about vulnerabilities associated with specific dams.  As the federal dam owners have embraced risk assessment as the next step in ensuring that dam safety risks are properly evaluated and managed, it is expected that private and state dam owners will benefit from following suit.  Indeed, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently adopted Risk Informed Decision Making (RIDM) as part of their engineering guidelines.  The intent of this training is to leverage and improve on the significant investment that has already been made in performing PFMA’s, and use this information to perform semi-quantitative risk assessments (SQRA) for individual dams or dam portfolios.  These assessments can then be used as a screening tool to identify PFM’s and overall risks which are not likely to meet Tolerable Risk Guidelines (TRG) based on life safety, and as a prioritization tool for reducing risk, performing additional investigations or studies, or performing quantitative risk assessments.  A simplified method for categorizing additional consequences such as those incurred at Oroville is also presented in this training.

Eligible for 22 PDHs

New York State Sponsor of Engineering Continuing Education Programs

Target Audience

The target audience for this training is dam owners and regulators who are familiar with the PFMA process, and are wanting to move these types of evaluations into the risk arena.  This would include FERC licensees and their consultants; private, municipal, and state dam owners; and state and federal dam safety regulators.

Gregg A Scott, P.E., F. ASCE

Scott Consulting, LLC

Mr. Scott received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He started his career with the Bureau of Reclamation in 1976, where he worked for 34 years before joining the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Risk Management Center as Lead Civil Engineer, where he worked through 2018. He has been involved with design, analysis, and construction of dams and dam safety projects, as well as the development and application of potential failure mode analysis and risk analysis for dam safety. He served on several review panels for Bureau of Reclamation and Corps of Engineers dam construction and dam safety projects. He has authored over 35 technical papers in journals and conference proceedings related to dam safety and dam engineering. He is now retired from Federal service, but continues to consult on a limited basis. 

Bill Fiedler, P.E.

Senior Technical Advisor


Bill has 42 years’ experience in hydraulic and structural engineering designs for concrete dams and appurtenant structures, with the Bureau of Reclamation. While with Reclamation, he served as a technical specialist and design team leader for numerous water resource projects. In the later part of his career, he served as a member of Reclamation’s three-person Risk Advisory Team, which was responsible for developing additional risk analysis methodologies and providing training for Reclamation.

staff. Bill has particular expertise in concrete dam and spillway modifications, including: project planning and design coordination; analysis and design of structural modifications; review of design drawings and specifications; construction support; and risk analysis methodologies and facilitation. He has written numerous papers focused on dam safety evaluations and dam safety modifications. He was a lead author on a Reclamation manual focused on drains for dams and on a FEMA manual focused on flood overtopping protection for dams. For the past two years, he has worked as a consultant in the role of senior technical advisor.

Mel Schaefer, Ph.D. P.E.

MGS Engineering Consultants, Inc.

Mel Schaefer is a Civil Engineer with over 35 years of experience in dam safety engineering specializing in analyzes of extreme storms and floods for assessing the hydrologic adequacy of dams and spillways. He began his career as a staff hydrologist with the Washington State Dam Safety Program and became Head of the State Dam Safety Program in 1990 where he managed a group of hydrologic, geotechnical and structural engineers. During his 7-year tenure as head of the Dam Safety Program, he developed the risk-based design/analysis methods and performance standards and regulations for dam safety that are in-use today. He was involved in the inspection, flood analyses and remediation of over 100 dams while with the Dam Safety Program.

In 1997, he started a private consulting firm, MGS Engineering Consultants Inc. which specializes in surface water hydrology, particularly probabilistic and risk applications of extreme precipitation and floods. Over the 20-years in private practice, he has conducted probabilistic flood analyses for use in risk analyses for over 40-dams for BC Hydro, US Bureau of Reclamation, US Army Corps of Engineers, Southern California Edison, and the Tennessee Valley Authority including notable projects such as Mica Dam on the Upper Columbia River BC, Folsom Dam on the American River CA, and Mammoth Pool Dam on the San Joaquin River CA. He has conducted large-scale regional precipitation-frequency (PF) studies for the province of British Columbia; the states of Washington and Oregon; a seven State area surrounding the Tennessee River valley; the States of Colorado and New Mexico; central Texas and New Brunswick and States in New England. He has pioneered methods for numerous elements for conducting hydrologic risk analysis including regional PF analysis (SWT climate region method); storm transposition by the OTF and ESTP methods; stochastic generation of watershed PF relationships for synoptic scale mid-latitude cyclones, tropical storms, and remnants, and mesoscale convective storms; and uncertainty analysis.
He is the lead developer for the Stochastic Event Flood Model (SEFM) for computing probabilistic flood loadings and hydrologic hazard curves and L-RAP software for conducting regional precipitation frequency analysis. Both SEFM and L-RAP are commercial software products. He routinely serves on the FERC Board of Consultants and Peer Review teams for review of site-specific PMP and PMF studies and for applications of hydrologic risk.

Jennifer Williams

AECOM, Dams and Reservoirs Group

Jennifer Williams is a registered professional engineer out of the Denver AECOM office. She has 20 years of experience with the majority of her professional career focused on dam safety including inspection; risk assessment; field investigations and characterization; seepage, stability and deformation analyses; alternatives studies; final design drawings and contract documents; and construction inspection observation.

Ms. Williams’ design engineering experience includes new dams and rehabilitation design of existing embankment dams for seepage, stability and hydrologic deficiencies. She has been the lead designer on over 10 dams in the last 15 years. Ms. Williams’ experience in risk analysis includes Potential Failure Mode Analyses and risk assessments since 2004 with state, federal and private dam owners and regulators including state dam safety offices, USACE, Reclamation, and FERC.  

Dean B. Durkee, Ph.D., P.E.

Sr. Consultant

Gannett Fleming

Dean B. Durkee, Ph.D., P.E. P.Eng. has over 30 years of engineering experience as a geotechnical and dam safety engineer. He has been responsible for evaluation and design of new dams and for developing rehabilitation and modification designs for existing dams, including earth embankment, roller-compacted concrete, moveable crest, and lined rockfill dams for hydroelectric power generation, flood control, water supply, recreation, and tailings management. Dean is FERC Approved for both Part 12D Independent Consultant and Risk Analysis Facilitator and has recently served as Lead Facilitator for four of FERC’s Risk Informed Decision Making (RIDM) Pilot Projects. Dean has been involved in failure modes analysis and risk analysis for the last 20 years and over the last 10 years has focused his professional career on the application of risk-based dam safety services, both as an Independent Consultant (IC) and as a Facilitator for potential failure modes analyses (PFMA), and risk analyses, both semi-quantitative (SQRA) and quantitative (QRA). He has performed these services for Southern California Edison, California Department of Water Resources, Pacific Gas and Electric, Idaho Power, PacifiCorp, Eugene Water and Electric Board, City of Centralia, WA, Turlock Irrigation District, Freeport McMoRan, Brazos River Authority, City of Tempe, New York Department of Environmental Quality, Flood Control District of Maricopa County, Resolution Copper, and Colorado Springs Utilities.


USSD Virtual Programs Code of Conduct
Agree to terms to continue.
Agree to terms to continue. USSD is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all meeting participants, volunteers and staff. All participants, including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, USSD staff members, service providers, and all others are expected to abide by this Virtual Programs Code of Conduct. This Policy applies to all USSD meeting-related events, including those sponsored by organizations other than USSD, but held in conjunction with USSD events, on public or private platforms. USSD has zero-tolerance for any form of discrimination or harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment by participants or our staff at our meetings. If you experience harassment or hear of any incidents of unacceptable behavior, USSD asks that you inform the Executive Director Sharon Powers at sharon@ussdams.org so that we can take the appropriate action. On the checkout page you will be asked to abide by the USSD Virtual Programs Code of Conduct.
Online Workshop Day 1
02/26/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
02/26/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
Online Workshop Day 2
02/27/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
02/27/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
Online Workshop Day 3
02/28/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
02/28/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
Online Workshop Day 4
02/29/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
02/29/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
Online Workshop Day 5
03/01/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
03/01/2024 at 9:00 AM (MST)  |  330 minutes
Online Workshop Evaluation
2 Questions
Professional Development Hours
22.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
22.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available